Saturday, February 5, 2011

Washington facing the ire of the Tunisian people

Washington facing the ire of the Tunisian people

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While western media are celebrating the "Jasmine Revolution", Thierry Meyssan lays bare the U.S. plan to curb the anger of the Tunisian people and salvage this insconspicuous CIA and NATO backwater base. According to him, the insurrectional process is still ongoing and could rapidly give rise to a real Revolution, to the great dismay of Western capitals.

The big powers abhor political upheavals that escape their control and thrwart their plans. The events that have electrified Tunisia for the past month are no exception, quite the contrary.

It is therefore rather surprising that the international mainstream media, staunch cohorts of the world domination system, should suddenly acclaim the "Jasmine Revolution", churning out reports on the Ben Ali family fortune which they had up until now turned a blind eye to, despite their ostentatious luxury. Western countries are chasing after a situation that has slipped from their hands and which they are trying to rein in by painting it as it suits them.

First and foremost, what must be borne in mind is that the Ben Ali regime was supported by the United States, Israel, France and Italy.

Regarded by Washington as a country of minor importance, Tunisia fulfilled a security role more than an economic one. In 1987, a soft coup d’état deposed President Habab Bourguiba in favour of his Interior Minister Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, a CIA agent trained at the U.S. Army Intelligence School, Fort Holabird, Maryland. According to revelations that have recently come to light, it would seem that Italy and Algeria were akin to that power takeover [1].

The minute he settled into the Republican Palace, Ben Ali set up a military commission in conjunction with the Pentagon, which has met in May of each year. Wary of the army, he relegated it to a marginal role, keeping it under-equipped with the exception of the Tunisian Special Forces which train with the U.S. military and take part in the regional "anti-terrorism" device. The ports of Bizerte, Sfax, Sousse and Tunis host NATO vessels and, in 2004, Tunisia joined the "Mediterranean Alliance" under NATO auspices.

Not expecting anything in economic terms, Washington allowed Ben Ali to systematically bleed his country. Every expanding firm was requested to yield 50% of its capital plus the accompanying dividends. However, things turned sour in 2009 when the ruling family, which jumped from greed to cupidity, intended to impose their extortion racket also to U.S. firms.

For its part, the State Department began to prepare for the inevitable demise of the president. The dictator meticulously eliminated his rivals and had no heir. A solution had to be found and some sixty figures apt to play a political role in the future were brought on board. They each followed a three-month training at Fort Bragg and received a monthly salary [2].

Although President Ben Ali parroted the anti-Zionist rhetoric prevailing in the Muslim world, Tunisia extended several facilities to the Jewish colony of Palestine. Israeli citizens of Tunisian descent were authorised to travel to and trade in the country. Ariel Sharon was even invited to Tunis.

The revolt

The desperate act on 17 December 2010 of Mohamed el-Bouzazi, a street vendor who set himself on fire after the police confiscated his cart and produce, touched off the initial protests. This personal drama, which resonated with the Sidi Bouzid residents, sparked a general uprising. The clashes spread to several regions before engulfing the capital. The General Union of Tunisian Workers, best known under its French acronym UGTT, and lawyers’ groups joined in the demonstrations, thus sealing spontaneously an alliance between the popular and middle classes around a structured organisation.

On 28 December, President Ben Ali attempted to regain control of the situation, making a bed-side visit to young Mohamed el-Bouazizi and addressing the nation that same evening. Yet his televised speech exposed his obliviousness. He treated the protestors as extremists and paid agitators, promising a ferocious crackdown. Instead of appeasing the people, his intervention transformed a popular revolt into an insurrection. The Tunisian people are not only mobilised against social injustice, they are also questioning the political power system.

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Producer and Nessma TV magnate Tarak Ben Ammar is an associate of Silvio Berlusconi and the uncle of Yasmina Torjman, wife of French Industry Minister Eric Besson.

It became clear to Washington that "our agent Ben Ali" had lost the reins. The National Security Council, Jeffrey Feltman [3] and Colin Kahl [4] concurred that the time had come to drop this spent dictator and to organise his succession before the insurrection could morph into a genuine revolution, i.e. a challenge to the system.

The media were enlisted, in Tunisia and the rest of the world, to circumscribe the insurrection. The attention of the Tunisian people would be focused on social issues, the corruption of the Ben Ali family, and press censorship. Anything to stave off a debate on the reasons that, 23 years earlier, had prompted Washington to invest the dictator and to protect him while he pilfered the country’s economy.

On 30 December, private Nessma TV channel defied the regime by broadcasting protest reports and organising a debate on the need for a democratic change. Nessma TV is owned by the Italo-Tunisian group of Tarak Ben Ammar and Silvio Berlusconi. The message rang out loud and clear for those who were still sitting on the fence: the regime was split.

Concurrently, U.S. experts (as well as Serbian and German) were detailed to Tunisia to channel the insurrection. Exploiting the collective emotional wave, they attempted to plant their slogans during the demonstrations. Attuned to the techniques of the so-called "coloured revolutions", fashioned by the Albert Einstein Institution of Gene Sharp [5], they shone the spotlight on the dictator to forestall a debate on the country’s political future: "Ben Ali, out" [6]

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(Screen still capture) On 2 January 2010, the group Anonymous (a CIA front) hacked the official website of the Prime Minister, inserting an ominous message in English on the home page. The logo corresponds to the international Pirate Party, whose Tunisian member Slim Amanou will be propelled by the U.S. Embassy within the "national unity government" as Youth and Sports Minister.

Hidden behind the pseudonym of Anonymous, the CIA cyber-command - already deployed against Zimbabwe and Iran - hacked Tunisian official sites, implanting a sinister message in English.

The insurrection

The Tunisians continued to spontaneously brave the regime, stage massive street demonstrations, and set fire to police precints and shops owned by Ben Ali. Courageously, some have even shed their own blood. Pathetic and overtaken by events, the dictator stiffened without understanding.

On 13 January, he ordered the army to open fire on the crowd, but the Army Chief of Staff refused. Having been contacted by AfriCom Commander General William Ward, General Rachid Ammar informed the President that Washington was enjoining him to flee.

In France, kept in the dark about Washington’s decision, the Sarkozy government failed to analyse the various repositions. Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie set out to save the dictator by dispatching law-enforcement specialists and equipment, enabling him to hold on to power through more orthodox means [7]. A cargo plane was chartered on Friday the 14th. By the time customs formalites were completed in Paris, it was too late: Ben Ali no longer needed the aid; he had already taken flight.

His erstwhile friends, in Washington and Tel-Aviv, Paris and Rome, denied him asylum. He ended up in Riyad. He is said to have taken with him 1,5 tons of gold stolen from the Public Treasury, which the authorities still in place have denied.

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Marketing : the logo of the "Jasmine Revolution" is unveiled at the exact moment of Ben Ali’s flight. In the center, a raised fist, which is the ex-communist symbol used in all the "colour revolutions" since Otpor in Serbia. From Washington’s perspective, what is important is to affirm that the events are over and that they are part of a liberal international order. Also, the title appears in English and the Tunisian flag has been reduced to a simple ornament on the letter R.

A bit of jasmine to calm the Tunisians

The U.S. communications strategists tried next to blow the whistle to call the end of the game, while the outgoing Prime Minister was assembling an interim government. It is at this juncture that the press agencies launched the "Jasmine Revolution" mantra (in English, if you please!), assuring us that the Tunisian population had just lived through its "colour revolution". A national unity government was on the rails ... and all is well that ends well!

The epithet "Jasmine Revolution" evokes bitter memories to Tunisians of older generations: it is the same one alread used by the CIA in its communications at the time of the 1987 coup that placed Ben Ali in the seat of power.

The Western press - henceforth better controlled by the Empire than its Tunisian counterpart - turned its floodlights on Ben Ali’s doubtful fortune. No mention was made of the report by IMF Managing Dominique Strauss-Kahn commending Tunisia’s decision-makers in glowing terms just a few months after the 2008 hunger riots [8]. Nor was any mention made of the latest Transparency International report stating that Tunisia was less corrupt than certain members of the European Union, such as Italy, Romania and Greece [9].

The regime militia which had terrorised the civilian population during the riots, forcing it to organise through self-defense committees, disappeared from the scene overnight.

The Tunisians, considered as depoliticised and malleable, proved to be extremely muture. They realised that the Mohammed Ghannouchi cabinet is tantamount to the earlier version without Ben Ali. Despite some cosmetic changes, the bosses of the sole ruling party (RCD) held on to the key ministries. The UGTT trade unionists refused to be associated with the U.S. manipulation and walked out of the coalition government.

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An opponent "made in the USA".

With a little help from Nessma TV magnate Tarak Ben Ammar, film director Moufida Tlati was nominated Culture Minister. Less in the limelight, but far more significant, Ahmed Néjib Chebbi, a National Endowment for Democracy pawn, was given the Ministry of Regional Development. The obscure Slim Amanou, a blogger familiar with the methods of the Albert Einstein Institute, filled the slot of Youth and Sports Secretary under the label of the shadowy Pirate Party attached to the self-proclaimed hacker group Anonymous.

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The real of power is no longer the Republican Palace, but the Embassy of the United States. This is where the Ghannouchi government was concocted. Located on the outskirts of Tunis, in a vast gated campus, the Embassy is a gigantic bunker that houses the main CIA and MEPI functions for North Africa and part of the eastern Mediterranean.

Needless to say, the U.S. Embassy did not invite the Communist Party to be part of the so-called "government of national unity".

On the other hand, preparations got underway for the return of Rachid Ghannouchi (unrelated to the Prime Minister), a legendary leader of the Rennaissance Party (Ennahda) who was exiled in London. A Muslim (formerly of the Salafist tendency), he extols the compatibility between Islam and democracy and has been preparing a reconciliation with the Democratic Progressive Party headed by his friend Ahmed Néjib Chebbi. In case of a coalition government breakdown, this pro-US duo could offer an illusion of change.

Tunisian street power is still alive, with the people expanding the slogan that had been handed down to them: "RCD, out!". In the villages and workplaces, they stalk the collaborators of the fallen regime.

On the road to Revolution?

Contrary to what has been reported by the Western media, the insurrection is not yet over and the Revolution has not yet commenced. It is clear that Washington has channeled nothing at all, except for western journalists. Today, even more than last December, the situation is out of control.



[1] Declaration made by Admiral Fulvio Martini, then Chief of the Italian Secret Services (SISMI).

[2] Direct testimony recorded by the author.

[3] Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

[4] Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East.

[5] The Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 4 January 2005.

[6] The Technique of a Coup d’État, by John Laughland, Voltaire Network, 5 January 2010.

[7] Proposition française de soutenir la répression en Tunisie Reseau Voltaire, 12 January 2011

[8] Video

[9] "Corruption Perceptions Index 2010", Transparency International.

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